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Militant attack in Indian-controlled Kashmir kills 9

Indian police during an attack by militants on an army camp at Mesar in Samba District on September 26, 2013.

Story highlights

  • Militants open fire at a police station and then an army camp, authorities say
  • The gun battle at the army camp is continuing, a military officials says
  • The Indian premier calls it "one more in a series of provocations and barbaric actions"
  • He is due to meet with his Pakistani counterpart in New York

Nine people were killed and seven others were wounded after a group of militants attacked security forces in Indian-administered Kashmir on Thursday, authorities said.

The unrest in the territory, long disputed by India and Pakistan, comes ahead of a scheduled meeting between the two countries' prime ministers on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly (UNGA) in New York.

Two to three militants in army fatigues attacked a police station early Thursday in Hiranagar, a town about 60 kilometers (35 miles) from the city of Jammu, said Rajesh Kumar, inspector general of police for the Jammu area.

"The militants forced their entry into the police station, opened indiscriminate fire and fled," he said.

Four police officers and and two civilians were killed in the attack, he said, and two civilians and a police officer were wounded.

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Kumar said the militants fled in a truck and drove to an Indian Army camp in the nearby town of Samba where they opened fire on soldiers.

Three military service members were killed and three others were wounded in the ensuing gun battle, which was continuing, said army spokesman S.N. Acharya.

Meeting planned

The violence took place as Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif are in New York for the UNGA.

Singh has said he will meet with Sharif, among other leaders, at the event. Reports in the Indian news media have said the two men are due to hold talks on Sunday.

Singh condemned the Kashmir attack in a statement released by his office, linking violence in the region to Pakistan.

"This is one more in a series of provocations and barbaric actions by the enemies of peace," he said. "We are firmly resolved to combat and defeat the terrorist menace that continues to receive encouragement and reinforcement from across the border."

But he said that "such attacks will not deter us and will not succeed in derailing our efforts to find a resolution to all problems through a process of dialogue."

The statement didn't specifically mention Singh's planned meeting with Sharif.

The attack took place hours after the Indian and Pakistani armies had traded small-arms and automatic weapon fire in the district of Poonch on the Line of Control, the de-facto border between the two countries in Kashmir, according to Acharya.

The exchange of gunfire is the latest in a string of small-scale clashes along the frontier this year.

Hiranagar and Samba, where the militants struck Thursday, are both within about 10 kilometers of the Line of Control.